Snow business

Today’s guest picture comes from my Glastonbury correspondent Venetia. She passed this elegant door on a recent walk.

Our spell of cool, showery and windy weather continued today. Any thoughts of spring are definitely on hold. Central heating and warm clothing are back on the menu. The day only warmed up (if that is the right phrase) by two degrees C at its maximum and it didn’t start very warm at all.

Mrs Tootlepedal made another excursion, this time to deliver a letter which had arrived on our doormat in error. She also supervised me as I dug up a clump of snowdrops. These were neatly parcelled up and posted off to our daughter Annie for her London garden.

I had a quiet morning, though I did walk to the shop and then round the garden in one of the moments when it wasn’t raining. There is still nothing much to see in the way of flowers except the hellebores, though a small primrose is doing its best. I have added a mossy azalea and some potential tadpoles to the panel as a makeweight.

As far as the birds went, it was a day for dunnocks with two pottering around under the feeder.

I think they must be a couple as male dunnocks tend to fight each other. It is hard to tell a male and female dunnock apart.

There were plenty of chaffinches around, and I have put some of them in a panel to show the changeable weather of the morning.

There was plenty of rain too so I have made up a rainy panel with a variety of light and heavy showers. Bored? Me? Surely not.

After lunch, I took Mrs Tootlepedal up to the town in the car so that she could post the snowdrops to Annie, and then dropped her off back at the house while I drove up to Callister to start my afternoon walk.

I parked near the top of the hill and set off to walk back down the road to the start of the Westwater horseshoe trail. The beep of the car door locking was still in my ear when I was overtaken by a mini blizzard of sleet and hail. Sheets of snow drifted across the road, blown by a stiff breeze.

It really was quite wintery and I began to question whether it was sensible for an old age pensioner to venture out into the hills by himself on such a day.

However, experience of the walk yesterday suggested that the snow might pass so I kept going, and by the time that I had got to the bottom of the hill and turned onto the track up the valley…

…blue sky had miraculously appeared and I headed up the track with a sprightly step.

There were other bursts of rain and light snow as I went along, but they were transient and my big coat was sturdy and warm so I wasn’t much troubled at all.

The track was remarkably dry and the surrounding hills kept me well sheltered from the chilly wind. When the rain stopped, which was most of the time, I was able to put down my hood and look around.

There were occasional spots of colour which turned out to be moss and lichen…

…and a sheepfold among the sea of trees showed that it wasn’t that long ago that this was all sheep country.

The brightest colour came from the spores of moss that carpeted the ground beside the track in places.

Although this is not the most scenic of walks, it is a very agreeable route, easy underfoot and with sensible gradients. It will get more closed in as the trees grow, but for the present there is enough variety to keep a walker interested in looking round.

And there is always a bit of a Christmas feeling about for some reason.

I was hoping to see frogs or at least frogspawn in the many ditches, puddles and ponds along the way…

…but there was not a frog or potential tadpole to be seen.

I don’t know what this tree is…

…or where it came from among an ocean of spruces.

As I got near the end of the walk, I could see the Solwaybank windfarm turbines, with the Solway behind them…

…but the clouds soon swept overhead again, and as I rattled down the moss covered track to the car…

…it was a case of hood up and head down to the finish.

The car thermometer claimed that it was 2°C when I was driving home, but the shelter from the hills and trees had been very helpful. I had walked without gloves for most of the way, and I had been able to unzip my coat too for a lot of the walk, so I had had little to complain about. What did go wrong was my failure to switch off my phone app for recording the walk until I had driven almost all the way home. It gave me a very good average speed as a result but was practically useless.

Using old fashioned methods, I calculated that I had walked just under seven miles, and once again I was more than ready for a cup of tea and a slice of date loaf when I got home.

A Zoom with my siblings and another serving of trout for our evening meal brought the day to a gentle close.

My knees have sent me an official letter saying that I am not to take them for a walk tomorrow, so it has to be the bike, either to nowhere in the garage or out on the roads in the forecast windy conditions. Time will tell.

The flying birds are a pair of male and female chaffinches in the morning rain. I couldn’t choose between them.

Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

24 thoughts on “Snow business

  1. The forestry industry must be quite strong in your area – there is no shortage of huge plantings (and just as many that seem to disappear).

    You were quite intrepid to continue your walk when the weather turned on you; I think I’d have turned back into the car!

    It’s remarkable that you could post snowdrops and have them arrive live. I can’t imagine anything living for the length of time it takes things to be delivered here. They will be a treasured part of Annie’s garden.

    1. They only took a day to arrive which was very satisfactory.

      The forestry industry is big here and getting bigger which is not pleasing everybody by any means.

  2. The mossy azalea is interesting. I’ve never seen moss on one.
    We’ve had a week of very warm temperatures here so maybe they’ll reach you eventually.
    That was a nice walk despite the wintery weather. I don’t have a mileage app on my phone but I’ve thought about getting one.

  3. I enjoyed the photos from gardens, feeder and your wintry weather walk. I am seeing more familiar tadpole shapes among the frog spawn in your photo. I hope the sleet and snow do not blast them. We may be in for a some early spring freezing weather here, just as buds are swelling and some trees are blooming.

  4. I can relate to failing to stop the phone app or cycle computer, a regular occurrence on my outings.
    Depending on which app you use, there may be a way to “split” your track. I use Memory Map which which just takes a “right click” over the split point.

  5. Those phone apps, my forgetfulness in the past, (hopefully, now I have a garmin) has meant I have travelled many miles at ridiculous speeds. You obviously are very trusting of the weather gods plodding on into a potential snow storm. Must have felt great all the same. Sad to hear those knees of yours are complaining, but you are yomping a good number of miles. Keep on tootling, Cheers.

    1. It is going downhill that does the damage to the knees. If all walks were gently uphill, I would be a happy man.

      The walk felt better just because it had started so badly.

  6. Love the panel of photos showing the range of different views. It’s good to see the sheepfold has been kept intact too…shows the history of the area and one to be preserved at all costs! Hope you can fit in a cycle ride to somewhere tomorrow to keep the knees going! Your daughter will be delighted to receive the snowdrops..a great Mothers’ day gift!

  7. I am enjoying your posts, as always, Tom and yet again I am trying to catch-up. I think the young tree at the side of the track might be a Scot’s Pine which could have self-seeded.

      1. I wondered if it might be two trees because of the two main stems or the one tree might have been damaged or cut back sometime in the past. We have a young Scot’s Pine in our garden and it looks similar to the tree you found.

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